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Vegan Carrot Cake Everyone Will Love

28 Mar

 

You may recall my love affair with Superhero Muffins, the healthy and insanely delicious muffins chock full of vegetables. If the insanely delicious part of that description appeals to you but you could do without the healthy, this Carrot Cake is for you.

I followed this recipe from The Greek Vegan’s brilliant mind exactly, and it was gobbled down by a whole bunch of kiddos who are not inclined to eat carrots, even if they are hidden in cake. If you think this is a stranger-than-usual photo, you are right: I took the picture on my desk at work and was terrified I would accidentally publish patient information, so I covered my desk in random sheets of paper to avoid that. So, uh, yeah… here’s the least weird one of the bunch:FullSizeRender (21)

Anyway, I am told this cake is awesome. The secret is pre-flavoring the carrots by boiling them in orange juice and spices and then later using that same liquid in the cake batter.  Greeks think of everything. This Greek-American will try to make another version that is a bit healthier… but you just feel free to ignore that and keep making this one.

Vegan Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 c chopped carrots
  • 1 c orange juice
  • 1 c water
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 8 whole cloves (I used 2ish tsp ground cloves)
    —-
  • 3.5 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/3 c molasses
  • 1/2 c cooking liquid from carrots
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (I used zest of about half a lemon)
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1 c raisins (or walnuts if you don’t hate them as much as I do)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly grease a bundt pan. Bring chopped carrots, orange juice, water, cinnamon sticks and cloves to boil in a small pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool. Do not even THINK of dumping out that cooking liquid–we are coming back to it!
  2. Once cool, drain the liquids from the carrots AND KEEP THE LIQUID IN A BOWL SOMEWHREE. Throw carrots in your food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times, then scrape down sides,  then add 1/3 cup cooking liquid and pulse 2 more times. Scrape down side and set aside. At this point, carrots will be a variety of sizes, with a little mashing but not a full on puree.
  3. In medium mixng bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cooking liquid, sugar and molasses until combined. Add spices, whisk. Add oil, whisk. Add carrots and stir to combine completely.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix completely. Stir in golden raisins and/or nuts if they’re your jam. The batter will be dense and a teeny bit dryer than you might have expected. This is okay..
  6. Pour batter into lightly greased bundt pan and use a spatula to even out the top. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan. Once completely cooled, turn the cake out and serve–if you’re fancy you can dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Baklava Cookies

20 Mar

I made these super-easy baklava-inspired cookies a few weeks ago for FlailKef and GingerKef’s annual Oscars Party.

FullSizeRender (20).jpg

In a tribute to my dear friends’ brilliant yearly invitation, I give you the following write up:

Many people think that FENCES exist to delineate those who enjoy working with filo dough and those who would prefer to find themselves on  a HACKSAW RIDGE rather than deal with all those layers. If you are among the latter, this recipe is for you! Immediately upon ARRIVAL at this Oscar Party, people came out like a LION for these cookies, which have all the syrupy, nutty goodness of baklava and none of the flimsy filo. MrKef was determined that I make them full of gluten and full of sugar, so rather than let the nutritional info send you into LALA LAND, I’ll keep those stats in my HIDDEN FIGURES file COME HELL OR HIGHWATER. The great reviews of these cookies sent me happily into the MOONLIGHT, still not giving one flying eff about MANCHESTER BY THE SEA.

Translation: these cookies are awesome and easy, full of gluten and sugar, and everyone really liked them. Oh, and I still hate Boston. Inspiration here, full recipe below.

Baklava Cookies

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the topping
  • 1/3 c pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 c almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • generous 1/8 tsp cloves
  • generous 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, melted
Syrup
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 3 TBS water
  • 2 TBS fresh orange juice
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed metal baking dish with parchment paper (I used my square tart pan- the pan from a toaster oven would probably work too). Combine melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and orange zest until combined (I used standing mixer, but I am sure you could do this by hand). Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, then add to butter mixture and fold in until incorporated. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan and bake for 15-16 minutes, until lightly golden and center is set.
  2. Prepare topping while crust bakes. Combine nuts and spices in a small bowl; add melted butter and stir until incorporated. Spoon topping evenly over warm crust (which has just finished its initial 15-16 min bake), then return pan to oven. Continue baking for an additional 10- 12 minutes, or until golden.
  3. Make the syrup during the second baking session. Bring to a boil the honey, water, and orange juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer until thickened and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for ~10 minutes.
  4. Place pan on a wire rack and spoon syrup over still-warm cookies, tilting pan in all directions to coat evening. Cool bars completely in pan. Cut with a sharp knife when ready to serve.

The Best Ice Cream I’ve Ever Made (Or: Why Your College Roommate is the Best Person To Keep in Your Life Forever)

25 Aug

Sometimes you gotta let the world know: something INSANE just came out of your kitchen. So, here I am telling you- this ice cream is gonna change the whole game. And I’m not talking about a pickup soccer match cut short for rain– this ice cream is a game-changer on the level of an epic Cricket battle that has gone into days-long overtime. That’s how good it is. OH- and it’s vegan, refined-sugar-free, and off-the-charts easy to make.

You already know- SO not my picture. Thanks to the Tasting Table for this recipe and picture!

But before we get to that, a word from our sponsors. As I’ve written about before, QueijoKef and I spend a lot of time texting/emailing/’graming each other delicious things we’d like to cook or eat. It’s just one of the reasons she is so great (see also: our quick trip to Miamithe epic bike ride inspired by our friendship’s soundtrack, the gnocchi we both die for, and her signature non-dairy creamy sauce). She has an excellent track record of picking awesome recipes (this matcha gingerbread cookie is a fan favorite), so when she sent me this turmeric-cardamom-coconut milk ice cream, I knew she was on a mission to keep her streak alive.

This ice cream has a seriously complex flavor profile (how’s that for food blogger lingo?) that is somewhere between sweet and savory. In another life when I never have to go to school again, I would make grainless graham crackers, slather this ice cream between ’em for an ice cream sandwich, and make my millions selling them on Georgia Ave. A girl can dream.

I followed this recipe exactly, and you should all go over there to give credit where it’s due and support The Tasting Table with all the clicks you can muster. Because I love this recipe so much and would be devastated if it ever went away, I am reproducing it here for posterity (because if Cooking Up Kefi can outlast Gawker, clearly I’ll be here long after The Tasting Table is gone).

Golden Milk Vegan Ice Cream from The Tasting Table

Ingredients

  • 3 c coconut milk
  • ½ c cream of coconut (here on amazon)
  • One 1-inch piece ginger, grated
  • ¼ c honey
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (I used 1-1.5 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Chopped candied ginger, for garnish (optional)

Assembly

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients, minus the candied ginger, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. Make sure you freeze the bowl of an ice cream maker during this time.

2. The next day, strain the base into the bowl of the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a shallow dish and freeze for at least 4 hours. Scoop the ice cream into bowls and drizzle with honey. Garnish with chopped candied ginger, then serve.

Iranian Jeweled Rice

6 Jan

There are two things in this world MrKef cannot live without (and neither of them are me): rice and meat. He is, in general, a very cool and collected man, but put him in an eating situation without rice or meat, and you will see a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Put him at a table with neither rice NOR meat and I don’t really want to know what would happen.

So when I said I wanted to make a New Year’s Day feast, I could see the fear in his eyes: she’s not really going to make my first dinner of 2016 vegetarian and riceless, is she? I am not particularly into rice, but I once had this insanely delicious Persian rice and wanted to attempt to recreate it. A google search came up with this insane-sounding recipe from TheKitchn. For once, I have a dish as pretty as the one included in the recipe and a nice photo to prove it– thank you MsBumbleBee’sArchEnemyKef for your photography skills!

rice

This is not your ricecooker’s recipe. Sara from TheKitchn, in all her foodblog glory, has this to say: “this is a decadent dish, both in its ingredients and in the time it takes to prepare it….for your first go, make it a celebration. Take your time, source the best ingredients, treat each step of this recipe like a precious stone.” ChefKefi, in all her food blog averageness, adds this: don’t underestimate how haggard you will look once this masterpiece is done:

lobster

Now we know who the first lobster present at the birth of Christ was.

The key to this dish is the orange blossom water, which makes it a sweet, aromatic dish–so don’t skip it if you’re looking for something truly unique. I found this rice interesting but not the most compelling, and kept trying to decide if it was a side or a dessert. MrKef, on the other hand, was all about this rice, and since he would be thrilled by an UNRWA ration, we can take his word and call it a rice worthy of a year’s first meal.

If you’re looking for a less sweet, potentially less lovely dish, the NYT published this very similar recipe (which has all the same components but the orange blossom water)– I’d love to hear your results. The recipe below is largely verbatim so I will once again remind you of its source: The Kitchn.

Iranian Jeweled Rice

Ingredients

  • 3 c long-grain white basmati rice
  • 2 TBS salt, divided
  • peel of 2 large oranges
  • 1 c whole dried barberries or chopped unsweetened dried cranberries (I used pomegranate seeds)
  • 1 tsp loosely-packed saffron (I found it at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 c orange blossom water, divided (interestingly, they did NOT have this at Whole Foods- I got it in the Latino section at Giant. But any Mediterranean store should have it)
  • 2 TBS oil, butter or ghee
  • 1/2 c sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 c chopped raw pistachios
  • 1/2 c golden or green raisins
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks (I used 1 bag of pre-shredded carrots from Trader Joe’s)
  • One 4-inch whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp freshly ground cardamom

Assembly

1. Wash the rice in a large container of water, swishing it around with your hand then draining off the water and repeating until the water runs clear, about five times. Cover again with water, add 2 tablespoons of the salt and soak between 2 and 24 hours. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

2. Set a small pot of water to boil. Slice your orange peels into very small slivers. When the water is boiling, drop the slivers into the water and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. (This cuts the bitterness of the orange rind.)

3. If you’re using cranberries or pomegranate seeds, proceed to step 4. For purists using barberries: Clean the barberries by removing any stems or debris. Place them in a sieve set inside a bowl. Cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Pull the sieve from the bowl and rinse under cold water to flush out any remaining sand. Set aside.

4. In a mortar and pestle (or, you know, with whatever you’ve got), crush the saffron threads with a few pinches of sugar until a powder forms. Stir in 3 tablespoons of orange blossom water and set aside.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and the pistachios, and sauté for about a minute. Add the raisins to the pan and toss with the nuts. Empty the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

6. Heat 2 tablespoons of the saffron orange blossom water mixture, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in the same skillet. Add the carrots and orange peel and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, the remaining saffron orange blossom water mixture, the cinnamon stick and the cardamom and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots lightly caramelize and the liquid has reduced to a syrup. Drain the carrots and orange peel, and reserve the syrup.

7. In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, bring ten cups of water to a boil. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons salt, and then add the rice to the pot with the remaining 1 tablespoon plain orange blossom water. Boil briskly until the rice has risen to the surface and when bitten into, a grain of rice feels soft, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain the rice into a large fine-mesh sieve, rinse with cold water and turn it out into a bowl.

8. Gently mix the remaining saffron orange blossom water and the reserved carrot/orange syrup to the par-boiled rice. Take a large spoonful of rice at a time and gently spread it over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a shake to even out the base. Add more spoonfuls of rice, one at a time, gradually shaping it into a pyramid. (This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge.)

9. Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook 20 minutes over low heat (I accidentally skipped the low heat part, so if you’re short on space you probably could, too).

10. To serve, arrange on a serving platter layers of rice, then the caramelized carrot mixture (discarding the cinnamon stick), then the barberry/nut mixture

 

 

Sweet Potato Ginger Latkes

17 Dec

Happy Hanukkah to all the Keftanis celebrating. In honor of the festival of lights, here’s a Cooking Up Kefi re-run: sweet potato ginger latkes! For a paleo/clean version, use whatever flour floats your boat. I love mine extra crispy (and then cooked a little more)- you do what you want with yours!

PS: Still on the hunt for some gifts? Check out the 2014 Cooking Up Kefi Gift Guide.

Katie Garibaldi’s Zucchini-Carrot No-Noodle Pasta

4 Sep

Ed Note: Today we’ve got an awesome no-noodle pasta from Katie Garibaldi, a San Francisco-based singer who’s a little bit country and a little bit soul, and definitely worth checking out. She’s a healthy eater after my own heart, and I’m thrilled to feature her recipe here! For more gluten free noodle ideas, refer back to these CuK favorites: butternut squash spaghetti and protein-packed blackbean noodles.

Capture

I’ve always considered myself a pretty health-conscious person and started experimenting with cooking more nutritious recipes that didn’t include gluten or dairy. Problem is, my husband and I love pasta. Gluten-free pasta noodles are available in the stores, but as I started eating more and more clean foods, even those began to seem heavy and unappealing. In researching healthy recipes, I stumbled upon a technique of using a vegetable peeler to peel zucchini and use those as pasta noodles. I thought it was brilliant: a pasta dish without all the heavy grains! So I experimented with different veggies and ingredients. Really, the combinations are endless. In this recipe, I use zucchini and carrots for the pasta, and mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoes for the “meat” of the dish. The sauce is a healthy pesto sauce that’s very easy and quick to make. This dish is packed with vegetables and nutrients, and the best part is you get full without feeling heavy and bloated—just clean and satisfied.

Katie Garibaldi recently unveiled her seventh full-length release of all new compositions since her award winning Next Ride Out in 2009. Brent Black of criticaljazz.com calls Follow Your Heart, “Americana music that transcends genre and geographic location,” in his five-star review of the album. When not performing and recording, Garibaldi can be found researching and creating healthy and personalized recipes for herself and her new husband. 

 Katie’s Veggie No-Noodle Pasta

Serves 2

Ingredients

Pesto Sauce

  • 2 c cilantro
  • 2 TBS raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 TBS raw cashews
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • ½ c olive oil

Veggie No-Noodle Pasta (serve with pesto sauce):

  •  1 c sliced mushrooms
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • Garnish: shredded cabbage

Assembly

1. To make the pesto sauce: Blend the cilantro, sunflower seeds, garlic cloves, lemon juice, and tamari in a food processor until finely chopped.  Blend in the olive oil until smooth.  Put aside until ready to serve with meal.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a non-stick baking sheet.  Put the sliced mushrooms and broccoli florets in a bowl with the olive oil and sea salt.  Toss to coat.  Transfer them to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.  Halfway through baking time, add the cherry tomatoes.

3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini and carrots into “pasta noodles” and put them in the same bowl you used earlier (for the mushrooms and broccoli) to coat them in the leftover olive oil.  Toss to mix up the pasta and set aside.

4. Place the pasta on two dishes and top with the roasted vegetables. Drizzle the pesto sauce on top, and garnish with shredded cabbage for added crunch. Serve and enjoy!

No Churn Pineapple Avocado Ice Cream

17 Jun

A few months ago I was all about the avocado ice cream and wound up with a mojito ice cream worth savoring. That’s all well and good, but I am not really into single-scoop-servings. So, I switched things up a bit and came up with this much-more-bingeable pineapple flavor. Enjoy!

I’m on night shift this week, and without natural light in the kitchen everything looks like mush– so in place of a picture please enjoy this avocado pig:

avocado_pig977

Ingredients

  • 2 medium avocados, cold
  • 16 oz frozen pineapple
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • cream of coconut milk from 1 can put a can in the fridge. Let it sit for 1-2 hours. Once nice and chilled, DO NOT SHAKE, open it up, and spoon out the solid cream from the top)
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • juice of 3-4 limes

Assembly

1. Put the avocado, lime juice, and pineapple in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until completely smooth and combined.

2. Put in a glass container (or a recycled ice cream container if you’re never more than 24-hours from your last pint, like me!) and freeze until frozen to desired texture. This will really freeze, so if you’re serving more than 5 hours or so after making it, thaw out of the freezer for at least 20 min before serving.

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